In a letter sent to Leica dealers this week, the contents of which have since been confirmed by the firm’s UK office, Leica Camera’s chief operating officer Markus Limberger apologised for the delays, saying it was largely caused by the ‘elaborate manual process’ used to make the Leica M.

He told dealers that demand has ‘far exceeded our expectations’, resulting in unavoidable delays to deliveries.

Limberger wrote: ‘Please rest assured that we are investing an enormous amount of time and effort in the sustainable expansion of our production capacities, naturally in full compliance with our commitment to absolute quality.’

In the 10 June letter, he added: ‘Despite the very high demand, particularly of the Leica M, the quality of our products and the high-precision in our production maintains our high standard.’

The German company plans to open an ‘ultra-modern’ factory in Wetzlar next year to ‘satisfy production demand’.

Leica says it is also recruiting more specialists and trainees.

Limberger continued: ‘The sum total of these measures will relieve pressures in the production process and simultaneously lead to considerably shorter order-fulfilment times.’

David Bell, managing director of Leica Camera Ltd, said that ‘very limited supplies’ have started to arrive in the UK, adding that the ‘picture is set to improve into the summer’.

He told Amateur Photographer: ‘The difficulty for us is that we are currently unable to match demand.

‘There will always be waiting times as we are a relatively small company.

‘However, this new M is proving a longer wait.’

The Leica M was announced at last year’s Photokina trade show in Cologne, Germany.